Vancouver Police Seize Dark Web Drug Trafficker’s $1.8 Million BTC Stash
After seizing $1.8 million worth of Bitcoin from a drug trafficker, the Canadian province of British Columbia has set out to demonstrate its stance on crypto-related crimes. The dealer, now a convict, run his illicit business in the notorious dark web platform Silk Road, where his alias identity was ‘MarijuanaIsMyMuse.’
The dealer, whose real identity is yet to be publicized, was apprehended in 2015 after police found marijuana worth $100,000 in his possession during their raids. Besides the bhang, the police also seized various electronics, including laptops, memory cards and hard drives. Surprisingly, all the devices had a substantial amount of BTC with the total amounting to 226 BTC. Back then, the BTC was worth slightly over $30,000. However, the virtual coins are now equivalent to $1.8 million.
As a result of this development, the Vancouver police are now seeking to prosecute the man for allegedly earning the Bitcoin through illegal trade. In his defence, the convict argued that the government forfeiture agency had no legal right to seize his digital assets because he was never charged for such crime. Precisely, his lawyer told the media that the Bitcoins under the custody of the forfeiture office are neither an instrument of illegal activities nor the proceeds of criminal transactions.
Before the conviction, the dealer had a clean criminal record. However, the convict claims that when he wants to claim his sized possessions, he did not get the hard drives. Upon further research, he discovered that polices were in custody of the storage media as part of an ongoing investigation. Consequently, the felon argues that the forfeiture agency is in violation of the court order that allowed him to reclaim his seized items. Moreover, he also argues that the seizure was entirely unwarranted.
A New Approach
Contrariwise, the Civil Forfeiture Office reiterated that it would not return the hard drives, at least for now. The reason behind this is the discovery of records concerning the sales of illicit and controlled substance such as ketamine, Viagra, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and heroin.
Away from the investigation, it is evident that the Civil Forfeiture Office is setting a precedent regarding the enforcement of laws on crypto-related crimes. The case mentioned above was the first of its kind since the inception of the agency. Nonetheless, the bureau is likely to adopt this approach from now henceforth. In a recent press release, the forfeiture authority this move was encouraged by the rising popularity of digital currencies and its historical use in facilitating criminal activities.